Category: Academics

Students Chosen for UMass Science Program

The University of Massachusetts MRSEC (Materials Research Science and Engineering Center) has partnered with MacDuffie to provide four students with a research opportunity in STEM.

Through ASPIRE (A Student-led Program in Research and Education), the Center’s graduate students (with faculty supervision) mentor high school students in a laboratory experience at UMass Amherst. As part of the 5-week program on Saturday mornings, students perform hands-on polymer laboratory experiments in synthesis, molecular modeling, 3D printing, and mechanical testing. Students also complete an independent project.

Vincent Pedersen ’18, Carrie Lu ’19, Anubhav Khanna ’18, and Jola Oke ’18 were selected after a rigorous application process. Candidates were chosen based on their application, academic standing, participation in extracurricular activities, and a teacher letter of recommendation.

“This external experience is beneficial in many ways,” said chemistry teacher Kristen Styspeck, who helped coordinate the application process. “It will give the students a real-world, hands-on research experience, allow them to make interpersonal connections at the University, and set them apart from others as they approach the college application process. It’s great to have a resource like the University of Massachusetts with which to partner.”

Congratulations to the participants, and thank you to all who applied. This is quite an honor!


Outreach: Seniors Connecting with Seniors

One of Ms. Tomkiel’s English 12 classes recently took a field trip to the Belchertown Senior Center. The students had just completed a unit on the literature of “origins and insights” and interviewed seniors on that topic. There were three WWII vets, a gentleman who brought his son (himself nearly a senior!) to assist, and a few former teachers.

Ms. Tomkiel said it was a lovely experience that gave students a chance to pair authentic writing with community outreach. The students will write up their interviews in prose and poetry and will present their works to the seniors as a thank you.

Henry Ho ’17 Named Commended Student

Head of School Steve Griffin announced that Henry Ho ’17 has been named a Commended Student in the 2017 National Merit Scholarship Program. Henry received a Letter of Commendation from MacDuffie and the National Merit Scholarship Corporation (NMSC), which conducts the program.

About 34,000 Commended Students throughout the nation are being recognized for their academic promise. Although they will not continue in the 2017 competition for National Merit Scholarship awards, Commended Students placed among the top 5% of more than 1.6 million students who entered the 2017 competition by taking the 2015 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test (PSAT/NMSQT®).

“The young men and women being named Commended Students have demonstrated outstanding potential for academic success,” commented a spokesperson for NMSC. “These students represent a valuable national resource; recognizing their accomplishments, as well as the key role their schools play in their academic development, is vital to the advancement of educational excellence in our nation. We hope that this recognition will help broaden their educational opportunities and encourage them as they continue their pursuit of academic excellence.”

Congratulations, Henry!

Academic Convocation

On Friday, September 16, we celebrated the academic achievements of our students at our annual Academic Convocation. This year’s theme was one of our CIRCLE values, Leadership.

As Head of School Mr. Griffin said, “While this evening is a celebration of last year’s accomplishments, it is our hope that it will serve as an inspiration for our students as they begin this year’s academic journey. ”

Students who made the 2015-2016 Honor Roll were recognized, and the following awards were given out or acknowledged:

The Timothy Bray Award: Jackson Skibel
The MacDuffie Faculty Award: Mimi Jung, Nicolette Peterson

National Language Exams

French Level One:
Honorable Mention: Ayano Kubota, Anna Ludkiewicz, Ava Marion, Gretl Qiu, Talia Wiesel, Catherine Xiao, Billy Xu
Medal awards: Jason Lim (Bronze), Haley Moriarty (Bronze), Jessica Pham (Silver)

French Level Two:
Honorable Mention:  Camellia Liu, Rustam Samimi
Medal awards: Nicolette Peterson (Bronze), Daisy Cheng (Silver). We had two Gold Medal winners in this category, both of whom placed within the top 5% of the national ranking: Yun Hallowell and Nate Enders.

French Level Three:
Honorable Mention:  Sara Jaber, Leo Zhang, Dollar Zhu
Medal award: Sarah Soares (Silver)

French Level Four:
Honorable Mention: Courtney Hurley

Introduction to Latin:  Samantha Jacques, Kiara Rogers

Latin I:
Cum Laude:  Sarah Scott
Magna Cum Laude: Aurora Basnet
Maxima Cum Laude and a silver medal:  Flavio Pinho de Almeida Reis

Latin II:
Cum Laude: Tira Xia, Eve Rui

Latin III:
Maxima Cum Laude and a silver medal: Sam Hackett, Connor Stevenson
Summa Cum Laude and a gold medal: Josh St. Pierre, Isabel Perez, Dolly Cupak, Cecelia Messbauer, Henry Ho
Summa Cum Laude, a gold medal, and a special certificate recognizing a perfect score: Ethan Shelburne

Upper School Awards and Scholarships:

The Amy Hughes/Holly Fisher Faculty Staff Scholarship: Varona Maysonet-Ayala, Parla Ozdelice
The Keating Memorial Entrance Scholarship: Savannah Richard

10th Grade Book Prizes:
Athletics – Aniis Anderson & Ethan Deecher
English – Emilee Auclair
English Language Learning – Gene Linling Qu
French – Nate Enders
History – Mimi Jung
Latin – Chenxi Li
Mathematics – Dollar Zhu
Performing Arts – Aniis Anderson
Science – Dollar Zhu
Spanish – Reagan Os
Visual Arts – Victor Zhang

Ames Hill Awards: Whitney Peng, Shannon Li

College Book Awards:
The Holy Cross Book Award:  Isabel Perez
The Smith Book Award:  Alexis Chapin
The Harvard Book Award:  Ethan Shelburne
The Mount Holyoke College Book Award:  Angela Tang
The Dartmouth College Book Award: Cecelia Messbauer
The University of Rochester Bausch & Lomb Award: Henry Ho
The University of Rochester Frederick Douglas & Susan B. Anthony Award: Cassidy Polga
The University of Rochester George Eastman Young Leaders Award: Whitney Peng
The University of Rochester Xerox Award:  Daisy Cheng
The Rensselaer Certificate: Camellia Liu

AP Scholars, Last year’s graduating class of 2016:
AP Scholars: Hyunjae Bang, Yitao He, Quyen Nguyen, Elias Os, Thy Vu, Zihao Yuan, Zihui Zeng
AP Scholars with Honor: Jane Bannish, Hongtao Jiang, Yu Lin, Poom Prasopsukh
AP Scholars with Distinction: Linyue Chen, David Gorestki.

Class of 2017:
AP Scholars: Henry Ho, Xinyu Tian
AP Scholars with Honor: Camellia Liu, Joshua St. Pierre
AP Scholar with Distinction: Ethan Shelburne

The Head’s CIRCLE Awards are the highest non-academic awards available at MacDuffie.
CIRCLE Award for Community: Camellia Liu
CIRCLE Award for Integrity: Cassidy Polga
CIRCLE award for Respect: Josh St. Pierre
CIRCLE Award for Creativity: Alexis Chapin
CIRCLE Award for Leadership: Henry Ho
CIRCLE award for Excellence: Ethan Shelburne

Cum Laude Recognition
MacDuffie Cum Laude Society: Daisy Cheng, Cecelia Messbauer, Ethan Shelburne

Farewell, Class of 2016

On Saturday, June 11, we bid farewell to 68 seniors. The 126th Commencement exercises took place in Abbey Chapel at Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, with rain holding off just enough to keep everyone dry before and after the ceremony.

Head of School Steve Griffin gave the opening remarks. “Today we celebrate a diverse and talented group of 68 students [from 15 countries]; they will soon disperse to carry the MacDuffie name to colleges across the country,” he said. “It is my hope that this group, with such a strong and unique personality, will come back to share their success with us and that they will hold The MacDuffie School in their hearts with pride.”

Following the greeting, the MacDuffie Singers did an a cappella rendition of Bright Morning Stars. Three members of the Class of 2016, Linyue “Evelyn” Chen, Jane Bannish, and Gina Napolitano, each gave a brief address. “I learned from each one of you and thank you all for being a part of me and for making these short four years long enough to brand a part of me ‘MacDuffie’ for life,” said Chen. Bannish reflected as well on what students would carry with them throughout life: “I’m sure that for years to come, long after we have forgotten the lyrics of The Magnolia Song, we will remember our friends, classmates, and teachers from MacDuffie. These people made our high school experience.” Napolitano, too, focused her address on the nature of our community. “When the morale is low, a student or faculty member comes up with a way to boost it. This says something about the kind of people that we have at our school—those who are willing to take chances and work hard to make everyone feel included.”

Napolitano, a familiar face (and voice) in numerous formal and informal MacDuffie productions over her seven years here, also sang I Hope You Dance. Camellia Liu ’17 accompanied her on the piano.

Susan Clayton, Director of Boarding Admissions, gave the Commencement Address. In addition to sharing memories of some of the seniors, Clayton challenged the Class of 2016 to contemplate the significance of their time at MacDuffie as they moved forward in life. “People often say that new graduates are the future. That is, of course, true. But you, MacDuffie students, are poised even better than others to have an effect on the future,” she said. “You have the education and the tools like other graduates, but you have also been exposed to an extremely diverse student body – diverse in thought, in religious belief, in cultural norms, in race, and in socioeconomic standing. You, better than others, know how important it is to be open to divergent thought, the enormous benefit of listening and learning from others rather than just shutting them out because of how they look, and how in fact, we all want the same thing – to be valued and respected by others.”

After Clayton spoke, attendees enjoyed another musical interlude as the MacDuffie Ensemble performed Telemann’s Sonata for Flute & Violin. Awards, Cum Laude initiation, the presentation of diplomas, and closing remarks ensued. The ceremony concluded with faculty, staff, students, and guests singing MacDuffie’s alma mater, The Magnolia Song.

The graduates walked out to Summer Suns, with  faculty and staff ready to greet them in a reception line outside the chapel. The reception line, where students exchanged hugs and handshakes (and a few tears), gave roses to favorite teachers and advisors, and posed for photos, was truly the final rite of passage.

Congratulations to the Class of 2016!